US, European allies sound pessimistic as Iran nuclear talks are broken in Vienna

Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared Friday that Iran “does not appear to be serious” about complying with the 2015 agreement.

Representatives of the United States, who abandoned the pact during the Trump administration, and all remaining parties to this agreement met in Vienna capital for the seventh round of discussions aimed at salvaging 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Biden’s administration demanded renewed negotiations to bring Washington and Tehran back into compliance. But after six rounds with Iran and other parties (the European Union, France Germany, Russia, China and Russia), Iran requested a pause while it holds elections. This pause lasted six years until talks were resumed Monday by a hardline Iranian government, which continues to expand Iran’s nuclear capability in violation the agreement.

“The first six rounds made progress, finding creative solutions to many of our most difficult issues.” A spokesperson for State Department said. “Iran’s approach to this week was not to attempt to resolve the remaining problems.

According to the spokesperson, Rob Malley, US Special Representative for Iran, is on his way back to Washington DC with his team.

Senior diplomats from Europe claimed that Tehran has retracted almost all the hard-won compromises reached after months of negotiations and is demanding major changes. They told reporters that they were disappointed and concerned by the Iran’s proposed changes to the text as negotiated in the six previous rounds of talks in Vienna.

The European diplomats stated that negotiators will return to their capitals to evaluate the situation and to seek instructions. They will then reconvene next week to determine if there are any gaps. “Our governments are committed to a diplomatic route forward. However, they stated that the time is running out.

Friday’s statement by Blinken stated that even China and Russia are frustrated by the Iranian actions in the talks.

He stated that “We’re going be consulting very closely, carefully with all the partners in the process itself — Russia, China and Europe — as well as other very concerned countries with Israel with Gulf countries and we will determine if Iran has any interest to engage seriously, but the window for this is very, very tight.”

European diplomats observed that Iran “has rapidly-forwarded his nuclear program” since it halted negotiations. It has reversed diplomatic progress that it made this week. They stated that it was unclear how gaps between the two parties could be closed based on Iranian drafts.

The Iran nuclear accord originally required the US and its allies to reduce sanctions on Iran in return for curbing its nuclear program. The US pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 by former President Donald Trump. After about a year, sanctions were increased and Iran began to break the agreement.

Trump’s decision not to sign the pact was called “a catastrophic mistake” by the top US diplomat. This is because Tehran used it as an excuse to “renew its commitments under the agreement” and “inexorably rebuild nuclear program that the agreement had placed in a box,” a position that Israeli leaders also publicly took.

‘Not acceptable’

He observed that Iran’s nuclear activities continued to grow even after talks were restarted. Tehran has refused to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Association. Wednesday’s IAEA report stated that Iran has begun producing uranium enriched up to 20% by advanced centrifuges at Fordow and that Tehran has resisted requests to allow access to Karaj nuclear site.

Blinken said that Iran should not try to drag out the process, while moving inexorably forward with its program.

“Iran will have to make very important decisions in the days ahead,” said he. “We have two options: we can either get back in compliance with the agreement or we will need to find other solutions to this problem.